Friday, 4 May 2012

Local Lib Dem Bulldozer Rolls On

Election Promise or Hostage to Fortune? 
Congratulations to Hedge End Town Councillors Rupert Kyrle and Jane Welsh who retained their Borough Council seats on May 3rd as Eastleigh continued to offer a sanctuary for Lib Dem councillors while nationally the party slumped to its lowest number of councillors ever.

Local elections decided on local issues are good for local democracy, but obtaining votes by deception is bad for democracy.  Rupert and Jane were accused by the Conservatives of misleading the electorate in the final stages of the campaign.  It remains to be seen if Hampshire County Council Leader Ken Thornber will follow up his threat to refer the Lib Dems to the Electoral Commission.  Where there is no doubt is that the Lib Dems promised for the second year to stand up against more building and traffic.  It remains to be seen if they will act on that promise this year, having failed to do so last year.

Putting Botley First
Assuming that Thornber's threats were mere bluster and that the Tories will revert to type and ignore Hedge End for the next eleven months, Rupert is in line to be made Mayor of Eastleigh next week.  He's going to be a busy man balancing his elected roles as Hedge End Town Councillor, County Councillor for Hedge End and Botley, Borough Councillor for Botley and Botley Parish Councillor.  At least he will get to see his partner at Botley Parish Council meetings, as she was another one of five Lib Dems elected to Botley Parish Council on Thursday.(*)

Having promised to "Put Botley First" it looks unlikely that Rupert will be able to improve his attendance record at Hedge End Town Council where he only managed seven meetings in the last year, the equal lowest attendance of all Town Councillors.

Hard Work
Jane, although dual-hatted as a Town and Borough Councillor, is not pulled in as many different directions as Rupert, and has been a hard-working and conscientious Chair of the Town Council for the last year.  She has only missed seven of the 33 meetings of full council and committees of which she is a member, and was present at most of the meetings of Highways and Planning, despite not being a voting member of that committee.  That is all in addition to the informal meetings, allotment inspections and other site visits that do not get minuted or recorded.

Although turnout was low - 36.5% - compared to recent elections in St John's, Jane's percentage share indicates a recovery in Lib Dem support, which had been declining, and her strong personal vote.  The Conservatives must be disappointed that their share of vote fell by almost ten per cent - probably because Tory supporters disappointed with the Cameron / Clegg coalition's recent performance simply stayed at home.

Although the UKIP vote broke through the 10% line for the first time, all the UKIP votes would not have been enough for the Conservatives to catch Jane on this occasion.

Labour support (in contrast to neighbouring Southampton) is flatlining at 8% in the absence of any local presence.

St John's Ward Percentage Share of Vote

(*) As an independent councillor I am very happy that Botley also elected six Independents to their parish council, resulting in a balanced council of six Independents, five Lib Dems and one Conservative.

1 comment:

  1. Botley Parish Council does look a lot better now. Must try to get there a bit more often, to see how it works in practice...